Mayor Murray’s remarks at Chief O’Toole’s Swearing-In Ceremony

Confirmation and swearing in of Chief Kathleen O'Toole“First of all, I want to thank Councilmember Bruce Harrell and the entire City Council for their action today. “I also want to thank interim Chief Harry Bailey, for his leadership and commitment to the Seattle Police Department, his passion for protecting the people of Seattle, and his deep compassion for our communities. “And I want to welcome Chief Kathy O’Toole. “Again and again, I’ve been asked if I chose you because you’re a woman. And again and again, I’ve answered that, no, I chose you because you’re Irish. “But the fact is, I chose you because you’re the best. “Today, you inherit a police department that has gone through troubled times. A group of good men and women who everyday put their lives on the line for the safety of the people of this city, and who deserve the strong and clear leadership that I have every confidence you will provide. “In the end, public safety is not about a chief of police or a police force by itself – it is about all of us assuming our responsibility as a community for our community. “Together, we as a city are excited to begin a new day for public safety in Seattle. “Congratulations, Kathy, on becoming Seattle’s new Chief of Police.”

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Federal Police Monitor submits Seattle Police Department’s training plan to court

SPDMayor Murray announced today that two major training programs developed by the Seattle Police Department, endorsed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Seattle City Attorney’s Office, have been recommended by Federal Police Monitor Merrick Bobb and submitted to U.S. District Court Judge James Robart for approval.

If approved by the Court, all 1,300 sworn officers of the Seattle Police Department will undergo instruction on how best to respond to calls involving a person in a mental health crisis, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or other severe behavioral emergencies by the end of 2014. SPD Dispatchers will also be trained to recognize calls for assistance involving persons in crisis to provide guidance to responding officers. A select group of officers will receive further specialized training and take control of the scene involving an individual in crisis.

Murray said he is especially pleased with the crisis intervention training program. “Studies indicate as many as 70 percent of use-of-force incidents involve people in crisis,” he said. “This training will help officers take control of situations and diffuse them, which will reduce the need for force.”

City Attorney Pete Holmes praised the police department work on the training programs. “This is an extraordinary accomplishment and provides a clear path forward on training,” Holmes said.

U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said the training programs marks a significant milestone in reforming the Seattle Police Department.

“The police department appreciates the hundreds of hours of great thinking by many individuals who contributed to these training programs,” said Seattle Police Captain and West Precinct Commander Chris Fowler, who led the effort for the department on developing the CIT policies and training program.

The department developed the crisis intervention training program with the assistance of an all-volunteer committee of mental and behavioral experts, advocates, academics, outside law enforcement representatives and legal experts, along with officials from the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission and expert consultants from the DOJ and Monitoring Team.

“This is great accomplishment that builds on prior work and we look forward to the training getting underway,” said Graydon Andrus, Director of Clinical Programs for the Downtown Emergency Services Center. “We think people will notice a difference in the street – police officers will be better prepared and people in crisis will receive needed assistance,” said Michael Reading, Director of Crisis Services at the Crisis Clinic.

The crisis intervention training will be conducted in phases to ensure that all officers attend an initial 8-hour course as soon as possible.  In subsequent phases, all officers will receive additional training and some will receive specialized training.

The Court is also being asked to approve a street skills training program in which all 1,300 officers will receive instruction on use of force, including the core principles of the new use of force policies, decision-making, team tactics and de-escalation. Officers will also receive integrated instruction on legal, policy and ethical principles. They will be taught techniques to identify, assess and resolve calls in a legal, safe and efficient manner.

In filings with the Court, Bobb said both training programs rely on national best practices and represents a significant accomplishment for the department. The DOJ’s consultant, Robert Davis, the former chief of Police of San Jose and former president of the Major City Chief’s Conference, assisted SPD in developing the use of force training manual.

‘Ask the Mayor’ to focus on public safety, feature police chief nominee

Mayor Murray announces Kathleen O'Toole as his nominee for Seattle's next Chief of PoliceThe next episode of Seattle Channel’s ‘Ask the Mayor‘ will air Thursday, June 26 at 7 p.m. The Q&A show, which is filmed in front of a live audience, covers a range of city issues in the first 30 minutes and then switches to a focused topic for the second half.

The June 26th taping will focus on public safety and the Mayor will be joined by his nominee for police chief, Kathleen O’Toole. In addition to discussing the recent tragic gun violence Seattle has experienced, they will address neighborhood crime, progress on police reform and more.

O’Toole, whose appointment by the mayor is expected to be approved by the Seattle City Council on June 23, would be the first female to lead the city’s police department. A former Boston police commissioner, O’Toole is currently a public-safety consultant. She served as Boston’s first female police commissioner from 2004 to 2006, then until 2012 as chief inspector of the Irish national police.

There is no cost to attend the live Ask the Mayor broadcast, however seating is limited and advance registration is strongly encouraged. Register online at or call (206) 684-8821. Doors open at 6 p.m. with audience instructions at 6:45 p.m. The live show is 7 to 8 p.m.

Can’t join the conversation in person? Watch live on Seattle Channel cable 21 or online at To submit questions in advance or during the live broadcast, e-mail, tweet @SeattleChannel using the hashtag #AskTheMayor or comment on Facebook at

Ask the Mayor
7 p.m., Thursday, June 2
New Holly Gathering Hall
7054 32nd Ave. S.
Reserve your spot

Mayor Murray statement on Seattle Police enforcement patterns

Mayor Murray released the following statement today regarding a presentation given to the Community Police Commission about Seattle Police enforcement patterns:

“The preliminary statistics in the Seattle Police Department’s presentation to the Community Police Commission today are deeply concerning to me.

They appear to support what many in the community have told us from first-hand experience: that, over a relatively small number of years, there has been a steep decline in proactive enforcement activity in Seattle. The report also suggests that people of color disproportionately make up those who are frequently cited or arrested for certain types of crimes or violations, although we still need a more thorough understanding of what exactly this raw data reflects.

These findings deserve further investigation by the Community Police Commission, the Police Department and my office.

I want to thank the Commission for working cooperatively with SPD to focus on these issues. My administration and our next police chief will be committed to learning more about what this data suggests for effective policing in Seattle. Analysis of disparate impacts is a useful tool to analyze whether the community is receiving the law enforcement services it deserves.

I have repeatedly stated that my goal is to see that the Seattle Police Department becomes a national model for urban policing, and, on Monday, I will announce my selection for Seattle’s new chief of police. This analysis, and the lessons we learn from it, will help us achieve that end.”

View the presentation:

Mayor Murray expands team, hires mayoral counsel and special assistant on police reform

Mayor Murray today announced the hiring of M. Lorena González as Counsel to the Mayor and Scott Lindsay as the new Special Assistant on Police Reform and Public Safety.

“Lorena González and Scott Lindsay are highly regarded professionals who will add to the high caliber of civil servants in our city and my office. I am thrilled to have them join my team,” said Murray. “These experienced individuals have much to offer and will prove themselves to be valuable assets to the city and community in these new roles.”

González is a shareholder with the law firm of Schroeter Goldmark & Bender.  She is a nationally-recognized lawyer with a strong civil rights background and deep community ties in Seattle and Washington State. Very active in the Latina/o and broader immigrant community, González developed a community partnership to fund a free monthly bilingual legal clinic, which has provided legal services to more than 1,000 indigent residents since 2007. She also holds leadership positions with the board of directors of OneAmerica, Northwest Area Foundation, Washington State Association for Justice, Justice for All PAC, and National Council de la Raza. Her résumé boasts additional accomplishments with the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington, El Centro de la Raza, Latino Political Action Committee of Washington, and Casa Latina.

“Public service and civic engagement have always been important to me, and I am excited to be able to marry my personal passions with my legal expertise in the critical role of Counsel to the Mayor,” said González. “Joining Mayor Murray’s executive leadership team to further his vision for an equitable, inclusive, and transparent city government is an honor and a great opportunity to play a role in ensuring that Seattle’s promise as a progressive city extends to all of its residents.”

Gonzalez will report directly to the Mayor, and in a show of strong collaboration with the City Attorney’s office (CAO), the CAO and Mayor’s office have developed a memorandum of understanding that will also give her the title of Assistant City Attorney.

“Lorena’s diverse professional background makes her an ideal candidate for this complex role. I look forward to an even stronger relationship with the Mayor’s Office with Lorena’s appointment. This will ensure that Mayor’s Office staff are fully informed of complex legal issues during policy development, as well as give the CAO a ‘go to’ person for all of the Mayor’s legal needs,” said Pete Holmes, Seattle City Attorney.

As Counsel to the Mayor, González will work collaboratively with the City Attorney’s office and City Departments to advise the Mayor on a broad array of legal matters affecting the city, helping to provide risk management on city policy through a legal lens. Given González’s deep civil rights background, she will also provide critical counsel to the Mayor on the city’s efforts to comply with the Department of Justice (DOJ) settlement agreement.

Lindsay joins City Hall as the Mayor’s new Special Assistant on Police Reform and Public Safety.  He will be the primary point of contact in the Mayor’s Office for all matters related to the DOJ settlement agreement, and he will provide a critical role in ensuring clear, consistent and proactive communications between the Mayor’s Office and Seattle Police Department with the DOJ, the Federal Monitoring team, the Community Police Commission, and the Office of Professional Accountability, as well as the City Council and City Attorney’s office.

Lindsay replaces Tina Podlodowski as Special Assistant to the Mayor on Police Reform and Public Safety. Podlodowski joined Murray’s transition team last year to help establish new relationships with the Department of Justice and Federal Monitoring team as well as to lay the foundation for the search process for a new Police Chief. With the Police Chief search process nearing its conclusion, Podlodowski will return to the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Innovation to focus on developing new policy options for public broadband in the city.

“It’s a thrill to join the Murray administration, especially in this new era of strong collaborative relationships between the Mayor’s Office, DOJ, and Federal Monitoring team,” said Lindsay. “Mayor Murray has rightly identified police reform as one of his top priorities, and I am eager to contribute my background and experiences to help the Mayor achieve his vision for a police department that will be a national model for urban policing.”

Lindsay brings more than 10 years of legal and policy experience to this role.  He previously served as Senior Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee where he led investigations into contracting corruption in Afghanistan and was the principal author of Warlord, Inc., a report recently credited by the Department of Defense for triggering substantial reforms to their war-zone contracting.  Lindsay was also the lead Democratic counsel during the Oversight Committee’s investigation of the controversial “Operation Fast and Furious,” a major firearms trafficking case in Arizona. In that role, Lindsay worked with Rep. Elijah Cummings to help reform the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and introduce legislation to combat firearms trafficking.  Lindsay most recently counseled clients in government regulatory and enforcement actions as an attorney at K&L Gates in Seattle.

Lindsay will report directly to Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim, who will broadly oversee a new interdepartmental team being established by Murray that will consist of representatives from the Mayor’s Office, City Council, City Attorney’s Office, Seattle Police Department, Department of Information Technology, Department of Finance and Administrative Services, and Department of Personnel to focus on the DOJ settlement agreement, specifically the complex technological opportunities that exist in order to successfully implement innovative policing practices.

González will start on May 19 and her salary will be $140,000 per year. Lindsay started on May 7 and his salary will be $118,000 per year.

Mayor’s search committee announces finalists for police chief

Pramila Jayapal and Ron Sims announce the top three candidates for Seattle Police Chief

Pramila Jayapal and Ron Sims, the co-chairs of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s police chief Search Committee, announced today the three finalists the committee will forward to the mayor for his consideration.

The three finalists are:

  • Robert Lehner, Chief of Police, City of Elk Grove, California
  • Frank Milstead, Chief of Police, City of Mesa, Arizona
  • Kathleen O’Toole, former Police Commissioner, City of Boston

“We were fortunate to have four, highly qualified candidates to consider,” said Jayapal. “We have since conducted a thorough vetting and competitive exam process that included a written response to a number of questions as well as extensive site visits. All candidates and their communities opened themselves up to us over the course of dozens of interviews. Through this process, we gained a comprehensive picture of each candidate’s strengths and potential challenges. It was clear that each candidate is highly respected in his or her own community and has demonstrated significant success in highly impressive careers. As a committee, we have been asked to limit to three the number of candidates we are recommending to the Mayor and are excited to put forth are excited to the three individuals whom we believe possess the very strongest qualifications.”

“While the three finalists each bring different sets of skills, there is no question that all are extremely well-qualified to be Seattle’s next chief of police,” said Sims. “We know that the next chief needs to bring a proven record of reform,  effective management experience, strong communications skills, an unwavering commitment to community engagement and the ability to articulate vision and expectations to which the force will be held accountable. These candidates all reflect these characteristics and are highly regarded as people of integrity. Whomever the Mayor ultimately selects as his nominee, Seattle will have a truly exceptional individual in our next police chief.”

Murray will interview the three finalists over the next several weeks, with the goal of announcing his selection and nominee to City Council in mid-May.

The members of Murray’s police chief Search Committee are:

  • Pramila Jayapal, Co-Chair, Distinguished Taconic Fellow, Center for Community Change
  • Ron Sims, Co-Chair, Former Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Bruce Harrell, Seattle City Council Member and Chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee
  • Tim Burgess, President, Seattle City Council
  • Sue Rahr, Former King County Sheriff; Executive Director, Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission
  • John Lovick, Snohomish County Executive
  • Eric Sano, President, Seattle Police Management Association
  • Ron Smith, Incoming President, Seattle Police Officers Guild
  • Verlene Jones, A Philip Randolph Institute
  • Kathleen Taylor, Executive Director, ACLU of Washington
  • Michael Ramos, Director of Social Justice Ministries, Church Council of Great Seattle
  • Michele Storms, Assistant Dean for Public Service & Executive Director, W.H. Gates Service Law Program

More information about the search process can be found here.

Murray commends SPD May Day preparedness and response

Mayor Murray today provided the following statement regarding the performance of the Seattle Police Department on May Day:

“Seattle police officers conducted themselves with admirable patience and professionalism during May Day yesterday and throughout the night.

Their training and preparation showed: Officers kept order in our streets and supported the marchers in their peaceful expression of their First Amendment rights. Arrests were limited in number, and damage to property was kept to a minimum.

I want to thank Chief Harry Bailey, Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh, Captain Chris Fowler and all SPD officers for their excellent work.”

Murray statement on OPA audit of Seattle Police disciplinary practices

Mayor Murray issued the following statement on the audit issued today by Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) Auditor Anne Levinson on the disciplinary practices of the Seattle Police Department (SPD):

“I want to thank OPA Auditor Anne Levinson for her review of SPD’s disciplinary practices. Her recommendations are important, and there is no disagreement about the need for serious reform of this process. As my office works in the weeks ahead with the Federal Monitor, the Department of Justice, the City Attorney’s Office and members of the City Council on a holistic reassessment of the OPA complaint and disciplinary process, we will incorporate these recommendations with forthcoming recommendations from the Community Police Commission and from my expert adviser Dr. Bernard Melekian, with the goal of arriving at one common set of recommendations for overall reform.

As U.S. District Judge Robart identified at yesterday’s status conference, it is critically important for us to look ahead and move forward beyond the most recent disciplinary cases that have caused such confusion, and instead focus on the broader systemic changes we need to make in the OPA process to instill the greatest public trust and accountability in that process.”

Murray statement on today’s status conference with the Department of Justice

 Mayor Murray issued the following statement on today’s Department of Justice status conference on police reform:

“I agree with what we heard today from U.S. District Judge James Robart. Police reform has moved too slow over the course of the past year. The Department must move more quickly to improve its use of technology – both in terms of effectively collecting audio and video evidence, as well as implementing a robust data tracking and analytics system. The police disciplinary process is byzantine and neither inspires confidence nor ensures constitutional outcomes in cases of officer misconduct. We can do better and we must do better.

I also agree with the Federal Monitor Merrick Bobb, U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan and the City Attorney Pete Holmes that considerable progress has been made over the past ninety days. We are moving in the right direction, and we are moving together. We have established a spirit of progress and a cooperative tone since January that I am confident will continue as we make progress on the Monitor’s aggressive 2014 timeline for reform.

The Community Police Commission has provided tremendous assistance in developing the six policies approved in 2013, including a new use of force policy and a policy for crisis intervention. The coming year will be about implementing these policies into practice.

Changing a culture is never easy, and we have far to go yet. But once we name a permanent chief, and once we not just implement the requirements of the consent decree but embed them into the fabric of our police force, then I believe that the Seattle Police Department will be a model for urban policing in the nation.”